Classic Christmas Songs
By Morgan Hamilton
Christmas songs are as assorted and diverse as anything I can think of. But what exactly do I mean by that statement? Well just think about the incredible variety of Christmas songs that have been produced throughout the years and I think you'll agree. If you grew up in snowy regions you may recall going for sleigh rides or caroling around a snow-covered tree.
Of course, roasting chestnuts on an open fire is something you may have not only done, but also listened to Bing Crosby saying about. And of course hearing sleigh bells in the snow and dreaming of a white Christmas are ageless lyrics that will endure forever.
If you had any number of Christmases from 1969 through the early seventies, the early eighties, the early nineties, or the early oughts—that is, through the Vietnam, Granada, Gulf War, and current wars you may think of how much meaning the song I'll be home for Christmas has. And who can forget all of those wonderful Perry Como and Bing Crosby Christmas specials that were filled with beautiful Christmas songs.
And, of course, many of us will fondly recall at least an earful of kids’ songs, chattered by The Chipmunks, lead vocalist Alvin notwithstanding; “All I Want for Christmas (is My Two Front Teeth);” and the racy “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”
But Christmas songs like so many other things continue to evolve. From the beautiful and stirring classics like “O Holy Night” (which is my personal favorite) and “Little Drummer Boy,” sung by cute little kids in Christmas pageants or pious choirs once a year without fail and simple ditties about food and presents and figgy pudding and nog, Christmas songs have gone into penetrating, challenging, bonding, and spiritually elevating realms. Just hearing the sounds can bring back
a flood of wonderful memories.
John Lennon, I think, started the trend of a Christmas song with a higher consciousness—with “And so this is Christmas, and what have you done?” and “And so this is Christmas (war is over), for weak and for strong (if you want it), the rich and the poor ones, the road is so long….” Imagine (or remember) how those frolicky, campy, or solemn and religious Christmas songs now had the words “war” and “fight” directly stated rather than implied? This just goes to show you that even Christmas songs can contain political statements just as they contain statements of peace and love.
And then came the unusual duo or unlikely star remake trends for Christmas songs, which were, really, equally moving: Bing Crosby joined David Bowie to remake “The Little Drummer Boy.” Which is one of my all-time favorite songs, by the way.
And how about the king, Elvis Presley belting out "Blue Christmas", how could you not love that?
And for a few years we have strayed from lyrics, per se, and have indulged in the saintly sounds of chanting Monks. I love these original options, as much as I still get chills when I hear original or other versions of those songs that had such limited meaning when I was kid doing solos for the elementary school parents. Everyone is different of course, and our tastes in Christmas songs is no exception. But for my money I'll take the old classics because as I see it these are not only beautiful Christmas songs but some of the sweetest sounds you'll ever hear.
Morgan Hamilton offers his findings and insights regarding holidays. You can get interesting and informative information here at Classic Christmas Songs
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